How to Make British Literature Understandable (Plus a Tale of 2 Cities Joke)

Wondering how to make British Literature understandable? Here’s how!

How to Make British Literature Understandable

How to Make British Literature Understandable

British Literature is an important credit on your homeschooler’s high school transcript, but how do you pick which books to read, and how do you make sure your student understands them?  (Not only that, but how about these questions: How can you make sure vocabulary is being mastered?  Oh, and what about writing assignments?  And where do you find supplemental resources if you’re stuck?)

You may remember your high school British Literature course. It was probably excruciatingly boring. The choices of literature presented were probably cumbersome and clunky. The readings were probably selections from books rather than entire books (which can be frustrating to the student). Because of their traumatic high school lit memories, many parents are hesitant to teach Brit Lit.

NOW imagine the British Literature reading selections were:

  • Comfortable readability with occasional stretches- no excruciatingly boring books or poems
  • Entire meaningful books or delightful poems
  • Quick but informative background information
  • Built-in vocabulary lists that help the student understand what they are reading
  • No busywork, but optional interesting assignments for students working for Honors credit
  • Doesn’t-kill-the-book study guides

Britiish Literature

British Literature:  A One-Credit College Prep Course is the answer to your problem.

This affordable full-year curriculum is priced much less than many other language arts offerings in the homeschool market. It includes background information of each book covered, vocabulary from the book, comprehension and inferential questions- but NO busywork. Each of the 9 guides included in the text include special assignments to level up from College Prep to Honors levels.

British Literature High School titles covered by these study guides include:

You can view an excerpt of British Literature for High School here.

Also, if your teens need to level up their British Literature credit for Language Art in a meaningful way, introduce them to British poetry.

BUT make it understandable. As we were discussing earlier, there is SO much dry or dull British poetry. There is also a LOT of inspiring or fun poetry that we have found that homeschool high schoolers can enjoy. We recommend adding 7Sisters British Poetry to their British Literature studies.

British Poetry

This study guide covers a sampling of British poets including:

  • George Herbert
  • William Cowper
  • William Blake
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Robert Browning
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Christina Rosetti
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Sir Walter Scott
  • William Butler Yeats
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Robert Burns

Homeschool high schoolers read an enjoyable poem by each other and discuss with a couple of very accessible questions that truly open up the poem for understanding it. The study guide includes background information and answer key. Literature study guides from 7Sisters Homeschool inspire students to appreciate the work rather than tire them with busywork. 

Also, if you’d like to add a little Shakespeare to your British Literature in homeschool co-op, check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.

AND Now a Tale of Two Cities joke!

If you have never read this book….or if you read it but weren’t moved by it, download British Literature:  A One-Credit College Prep Course  and see how the Tale of Two Cities comes to life!

And now, a story:

How to Make British Literature Understandable

There was once a terrible crisis in London.

The Thames river had a new inhabitant….a horrible sea monster had slunk into the famed London waterway.  Citizens who walked too close to the edge of the river were quietly devoured.  The city was in an uproar!  Who would save them from the horrible creature?

A young man came forward to answer the call.  He was a poor man from an inconsequential village, but he had a heart of courage and a love for his countrymen.

He came to the banks of the Thames and called in a loud voice:

“Monster!  Show yourself if you dare!”

In a flash of scales and slime, the creature broke the surface of the water, his horrible jaws open to devour this arrogant young warrior.

Fortuitously, the hero was quicker, and his sword neatly sliced off the monster’s head.  The people poured into the streets of London to celebrate!  The crisis was over.

But the story wasn’t quite…

The citizens joyously pulled the carcass out of the Thames river, carved it into sections, and took it to butcher shops all over the city, where it was seasoned and mixed and pressed into the yummiest lunch meat you’ve ever tasted.

Yes, it was the beast of Thames….it was the wurst of Thames.


If you don’t “get” this dreadful joke, you REALLY need to download British Literature – A One-Credit College Prep Course!

Here’s an excerpt from British Literature: A Full-Year High School Course.

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How to Make British Literature Understandable


Sabrina Justison

20+ year homeschool mom and curriculum developer for Fred's wife. Writing, drama, music, blogs, kids, shoes, coffee, & books in varying orders on various days. He is God, He is good & He loves me.

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